Are you crazy black people can't swim

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I tried out for the swim team today. As soon as I step out there the man laughed and said are you crazy black people can't swim. This is my schools first year having a swim team and most kids were doggy paddling. I ignored the coach's comment. I started swimming and my panic attack turn to not being able to breath. I have asthma so I got out the pool used my inhaler and proceeded to get back in pool. The coach went off on me talking about I shouldn't get out the pool for anything. I told him I had asthma. He stared at me and shouted I don't care go home.
I'm proud of you for going back in. It speaks to a certain determination that any coach would be glad to have in his athletes.

He sounds like a real dick head but don't let him discourage you from swimming. Step up to the plate and prove that hater wrong!
I ain't thirsty. There's plenty of fish in the sea, but I don't want all of them, can I have some standards? Or do we just have to settle, for someone's who meh and will do.
"
I'm black and I can swim like legit not doggy paddle. He's just a butt
He's crazy and ignorant. There were black people on the Olympic swim team, does he live under a rock?

Sorry the coach yelled at you. You should have your parents talk to him because he can't discriminate against you for having asthma (and definitely not for being black). They can't make him put you on the team or anything, but he does have to let you try out fairly. He probably thought you were being lazy or something. Let him know it was an emergency.

That reminds me of cheer back in high school. A teammate and I had asthma and our team had gotten in trouble one practice and so we had to run laps. Coach let the team have a short break so we started walking over to our bags to get our inhalers. Coach was like "WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU'RE GOING!?" the other girl was a smart mouth and yelled back "I have to go get my asthma spray, do you want me to DIE!?". I couldn't even take my inhaler properly because I couldn't stop laughing after that.

Last edited by SpiralSpunk; 08-16-2012 at 08:25 PM.
Good for you for trying and then getting back in the pool. The coach was rude to say that to you. Yes, there's a problem with many black people not knowing how to swim. However, that doesn't mean you ridicule the ones who do. The point is to ENCOURAGE as many black people as possible to learn. What a dumbass.
There are racists everywhere. I'm sorry you encountered one. Black people most certainly can swim, and my son has swum with some excellent black swimmers, some on college scholarship like he is. I encourage you to keep swimming, despite the j*rkoff coach.
This is the "coach"? Are you going to make a formal complaint? Did other people hear what he said who could back you up?

I understand if you don't want to go to the trouble of complaining but he shouldn't be in a professional position.

The man is an ignoramus.
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I'm white and can't swim. That should blow his tiny little mind.

What an asshat.




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Yes...the comment the coach made is rude but there is a reason why certain people don't think black people can usually swim and I personally don't think it's anything to scoff off. Apparently, there is a startling number of drowning deaths of African American children. A study at done by the University Memphis and the USA Swimming Organization report that 70% of African American children can't swim compared to about 40% of white children. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention cites that African American children between the ages of 5-14 are three times more likely than other children to drown.

The issue seems to be that African American children don't have adequate facilities for safe swimming and swimming instruction. Where there are facilities, they are often overcrowded making it difficult for lifeguards to observe all swimmers safely.

So there is indeed this sentiment in the USA that generally black people can't swim and it's not because they don't have the ability to learn but it's because they often don't have the opportunity. So I don't think this is a racist issue in every case because black people state "black folks can't swim" often too.

But like anyone else when blacks have the opportunity to learn something they can master it. They just need the opportunity. I cite Olympians: Cullen Jones, Lia Neal, Maritza Correia, Anthony Ervin. Given some people might get picky and cite that some of these athletes aren't "fully black" *eyeroll*
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He's crazy and ignorant. There were black people on the Olympic swim team, does he live under a rock?

Sorry the coach yelled at you. You should have your parents talk to him because he can't discriminate against you for having asthma (and definitely not for being black). They can't make him put you on the team or anything, but he does have to let you try out fairly. He probably thought you were being lazy or something. Let him know it was an emergency.

That reminds me of cheer back in high school. A teammate and I had asthma and our team had gotten in trouble one practice and so we had to run laps. Coach let the team have a short break so we started walking over to our bags to get our inhalers. Coach was like "WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU'RE GOING!?" the other girl was a smart mouth and yelled back "I have to go get my asthma spray, do you want me to DIE!?". I couldn't even take my inhaler properly because I couldn't stop laughing after that.
Originally Posted by SpiralSpunk
He probably does live under a rock. I swear a lot of older white men where I live do. Ive been told so many offensive things in the year that I've been here it's ridiculous.
^^Yes, what Marah said. I just didn't have the energy to type all that out.

I understand it actually goes beyond not having adequate facilities. There was a story during the Olympics about Cullen Jones (I think) and his work to encourage black people to swim. They cited an additional study that showed that even in areas where there are adequate facilities and free swimming lessons, it has been difficult to get black people to do it. It appears to be culturally-rooted fear of drowning. Yes, once they overcome the fear, they do fine. It's a big hurdle though.

I will find a link. It was pretty interesting.
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Last edited by mrspoppers; 08-16-2012 at 08:53 PM.
My university had free lessons but I just refused to get out of my bed so early

mrspoppers likes this.
I ain't thirsty. There's plenty of fish in the sea, but I don't want all of them, can I have some standards? Or do we just have to settle, for someone's who meh and will do.
"
Yes...the comment the coach made is rude but there is a reason why certain people don't think black people can usually swim and I personally don't think it's anything to scoff off. Apparently, there is a startling number of drowning deaths of African American children. A study at done by the University Memphis and the USA Swimming Organization report that 70% of African American children can't swim compared to about 40% of white children. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention cites that African American children between the ages of 5-14 are three times more likely than other children to drown.

The issue seems to be that African American children don't have adequate facilities for safe swimming and swimming instruction. Where there are facilities, they are often overcrowded making it difficult for lifeguards to observe all swimmers safely.

So there is indeed this sentiment in the USA that generally black people can't swim and it's not because they don't have the ability to learn but it's because they often don't have the opportunity. So I don't think this is a racist issue in every case because black people state "black folks can't swim" often too.
Originally Posted by *Marah*
So glad you posted this because I really don't think people realize this.

I always roll my eyes when there's a black contestant on Survivor and they can't swim. I wouldn't put it past the producers to intentionally cast blacks who cannot swim.
You may find this article interesting that my hubby wrote not to long ago on this very topic. Diversity in swimming is something he feels very passionate about.

To Swim or Not to Swim

I can swim enough to keep myself alive, but I'm pretty bad. Hubby insists that I learn how to dive at some point (he's a former Navy Diver) but I'm not completely convinced I can do it.
hello.world.
This situation hits close to home for me. Very few members of my extended family can swim, even though we live in a state that is surrounded by water. My sister, daughter and I are very good swimmers. It's very frustrating and scary that my family members are so cavalier about it.


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What a moron that coach. Sorry you went through that.

I'm surprised this whole "black people can't swim" business is even a "thing". You'd think people would have more common sense that.
MrsPoppers.. yes! I read about Cullen Jones and his efforts! It's fantastic!

That was a great article from your husband! Thanks webjockey!

@Medussa You know I often wonder that too.. like is it purposeful that they pick black contestants that haven't learned to swim ? Because I think to myself..why in the world for an adventure show where you KNOW there will be tons of water would you cast a person that can't swim..seems odd. Then I brush it off and just assume I'm just being overly suspicious.
I can swim and competed when I was younger. In Kenya, swim class was part of our curriculum from pre-unit (which I guess is kindergarten here). We had swimming lessons every week, just like math, english, PE. We were fortunate to have a pool at my primary and secondary schools. Not all schools had one--many did though.

Anyone know where the cultural fear of drowning among AAs come from? Is it a result of reading such stories/studies as Marah posted?

I hear black folks say all the time "black folks don't swim". 2 of my closest black (american) friends can't swim.
I can swim and competed when I was younger. In Kenya, swim class was part of our curriculum from pre-unit (which I guess is kindergarten here). We had swimming lessons every week, just like math, english, PE. We were fortunate to have a pool at my primary and secondary schools. Not all schools had one--many did though.

Anyone know where the cultural fear of drowning among AAs come from? Is it a result of reading such stories/studies as Marah posted?

I hear black folks say all the time "black folks don't swim". 2 of my closest black (american) friends can't swim.
Originally Posted by coilynapp
I looked for the story I saw and I can't find it anywhere. It was at the beginning of the Olympics but I can't remember if it was on NBC. I found what seemed to be the links to my story but they're all dead links. I will look again.

FWIW, I can't really swim either. I can paddle and do my own version of some sort of stroke but that's about it. I should have taken lessons at the neighborhood pool when I was unemployed.
Found it! I saw a story on TV but it was this article exactly.

Starting last fall, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston made swimming lessons mandatory for their members, who are predominantly black and Hispanic. Though the lessons were free of charge, a number of parents had to be talked into allowing their children to participate: they were terrified of letting them get in the water.
But why is the problem worse among African-Americans, many of whom, across all economic classes, lack confidence in the water? A large part of that unease is a legacy of slavery and segregation.

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